(Photo credit Wall Street Journal)
I get the opportunity to speak with, and to, many large retailers and far too often I still here “…we’re not technologist, we’re retailers.” Well here is my take, sorry, retailers you’re a technology company now…and you my friend you are a technologist; at least you better be. [Tweet this] No longer is it good enough to travel to exotic places, or browse an online catalog from Manhattan, score a great buy, mark it up and slap it on to your shelves or web site. In addition to being a purveyor of goods, retailers must create enduring relationships with shoppers where they become a utility to said shoppers.[Tweet this] Innovation labs are a great start, but driving innovation and being innovative is not a department, it’s a culture. [Tweet this] Being a technology company and innovating doesn’t only have to mean developing a new app or even a device, it can also be a new way of doing business on either the supply or demand side – certainly Uber and other gig economy companies come to mind. These are transformational times that we are in, and retailers must step back and look at their business in completely new ways, and from a variety of viewpoints. Where you are unable to create, acquire. Understanding the innovator’s dilemma, where you are unable to acquire, instead make key strategic step investments that can help to seed your future. Forget about yesterday, the world of retail has forever changed, and there is not going back. As Alan Kay timelessly stated, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”…otherwise you will just be a tenant on leased land.